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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Relationships between multiple biodiversity components and ecosystem services along a landscape complexity gradient

Birkhofer, Klaus; Andersson, Georg K. S.; Bengtsson, Janne; Bommarco, Riccardo; Danhardt, Juliana; Ekbom, Barbara; Ekroos, Johan; Hahn, Thomas; Hedlund, Katarina; Jonsson, Annelie M.; Lindborg, Regina; Olsson, Ola; Rader, Romina; Rusch, Adrien; Stjernman, Martin; Williams, Alwyn; Smith, Henrik G.


The assessment of effects of anthropogenic disturbance on biodiversity (BD) and ecosystem services (ES) and their relationships are key priorities of the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Agricultural landscapes and their associated BD provide multiple ES and it is crucial to understand how relationships between ES and BD components change along gradients of landscape complexity. In this study, we related eight ES potentials to the species richness of five invertebrate, vertebrate and plant taxonomic groups in cereal farming systems. The landscape complexity gradient ranged from areas dominated by annually tilled arable land to areas with high proportions of unfertilized, non-rotational pastures and uncultivated field borders. We show that after accounting for landscape complexity relationships between yield and bird richness or biological control became more positive, but relationships between bird richness and biological control became less positive. The relationship between bird and plant richness turned from positive to negative. Multidiversity (overall biodiversity), was positively related to landscape complexity, whereas multifunctionality (overall ES provision), was not significantly related to either one of these. Our results suggest that multidiversity can be promoted by increasing landscape complexity; however; we found no support for a simultaneous increase of several individual ES, BD components or multifunctionality. These results challenge the assumption that bio-diversity-friendly landscape management will always simultaneously promote multiple ES in agricultural landscapes. Future studies need to verify this pattern by using multi-year data, larger sets of ES and BD components and a study design that is appropriate to address larger spatial scales and relationships in several regions.


Biodiversity loss; Landscape complexity; Multidiversity; Multifunctionality; Synergies; Trade-offs

Published in

Biological Conservation
2018, Volume: 218, pages: 247-253

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        SLU Plant Protection Network

        Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG15 Life on land

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